Letter to the Editor

What's in a name?

Friday, July 14, 2017

People's names can be trendy. It's common to name babies after famous people, so names can date us to a certain period. (My name is Gary, which was popular back in the 1940's and 1950's.) And of course being a nation of immigrants, many of our names originated in other countries. But famous and foreign names aside, we are now in a different era regarding names.

It started when parents began using common names, but spelling them differently (Mari, Jon, Darryl). It escalated when parents started giving first names that were common last names (Cooper, Bailey, Jackson) and using unusual names (Denton, Zoe, Ladonna). Things got messier when married people started using hyphenated last names. Imagine if this continued for several generations (Mary Jane Doe-Smith-Brown-Jones-etc.) Many African Americans use unique names, some with African origins (Chenzira, Jendayl, Timarion). And yes, some people put apostrophes and accent marks in names (A'onte, Quin'lle, Di'Aunt'I). Throw in religious names (Mohammad is the most common name in the world) along with all the good-ole standbys, and parents have a lot to pick from.

I like the diversity of names. Some, I'm challenged to pronounce, but I like them. Since my name is dated, I would like to modernize it a little, say change it to La'gare or maybe Garenique. That way, if people didn't see me, they might think I'm young and cool.

GARY (aka GARENIQUE) L. GAINES, Cape Girardeau